How to Improve Change Management With Agility Training
What organizational trait can most help your business succeed?
You could argue that it’s innovation. After all, an innovative perspective is invaluable in the age of digital transformation. Or maybe you’ll say it’s collaboration, which is becoming increasingly important to maximizing performance and sharing resources.
We say it’s agility.
Innovation, collaboration, and a host of other characteristics are important, but having an agile mindset and willingness to change is a fundamental prerequisite.
If your employees are resistant to change, new ideas and ways of working will continue to evade you. While your competitors enjoy the benefits of stepping outside of the box, your team will continue inching by with the status quo.
What is organizational agility?
Organizational agility refers to the ability to react quickly to changes in business operations, strategy, and even culture.
When your workforce is agile, it can pivot when the need arises without causing major disruption.
While many people think of agility as a core leadership trait, it’s not reserved for senior management. Everyone from the interns to the CEO should prioritize agility training and develop this “change” muscle.
Effective managers spend ample time on agility training so that their teams — and eventually, the organization at large — are not only prepared to handle change but enthusiastically embrace it.
The value of agility training
Change is inevitable, and in the digital workplace, it’s constant.
When the need to amend the way your work is relatively continuous, there is no time for stress or resistance. With agility training, you can instill this flexibility into your employees so that their instinct is to be excited by change instead of fearing it.
The Association for Talent Development uses the analogy of tennis.
Tennis players train on many different types of surfaces — including grass, clay, and hard courts. They become masters of different skills and techniques until the game becomes so autonomic they hardly have to think about when to apply each technique in a real match.
You can take the same approach in business. You can’t necessarily prepare your staff to handle every specific challenge or change that will arise, but you can equip them with the skills that will enable them to adapt with ease.
How to provide agility training: 3 primary steps
There are three main steps to focus on when developing an effective agility training system. We’ll dive into each one here.
1. Foster change management skills
Change management refers to the methods, processes, and solutions an organization uses to promote or execute change. This could range from implementing a new software to a merger with another company or restructuring the organization.
According to a study by ExpertHR, there are eight key skills for effective change management:
- Personal resilience
- Trust building
- Forcing clarity
- Managing other’s uncertainty
By helping your staff build these skills, your employees will have a solid foundation for taking an agile approach to managing change.
An easy way to achieve this is by inviting leaders in the company to speak to your team about their personal experiences tackling challenging changes and the lessons they learned.
Providing routine personalized coaching, networking opportunities at outside events, and instilling a culture of accountability are also valuable.
With these skills comes greater confidence — someone who is familiar with change management will not see it as something threatening.
2. Improve time managementProperly prioritizing tasks is essential to staying in control during periods of change.
When your employees can manage their time effectively, they can take a more agile approach to change because they understand how to stay on top of core tasks while changing their workflow to accommodate new ones.
One helpful time management skills to include in your agility training is Eisenhower’s urgent-important matrix.
This matrix breaks down what is urgent but not important, what is important but not urgent, what is both urgent and important and what is neither urgent nor important.
By categorizing tasks this way, employees can easily visualize which responsibilities take priority today, and which can wait.
Managers who devote resources to improving time management within their teams will see the benefit of improved organization on a daily basis, which enables agility during periods of change.
3. Provide continual learning and developmentPreparing employees for the next big disruption is an ongoing task. Employee training and development should be a continual effort, not just a one-time-event when they join the team.
When training becomes a part of daily life at work, the learning required to adapt to change is already habitual. This is an important part of developing that “change” muscle, which helps your team glide through transformations.
There are two types of employee training to focus on: professional development and tactical training.
Professional development should be tailored to each employee’s individual goals and responsibilities. Coaching, online courses, and external events are easy and affordable ways to provide your staff with tailored guidance that can equip them with important skills and boost their careers.
Not only does ongoing training help prepare your staff to shift responsibilities and tasks, it also offers great satisfaction.
Many employees see continual learning and development as an important benefit. Providing personalized development opportunities that promote an individual’s goals fosters greater engagement and loyalty.
When it comes to tactical training, employees need continuous support that will provide guidance when the digital tools they use change or undergo updates.
By leveraging tools such as contextual learning software, managers will be confident that employees always have access to the right support. The need to adopt new processes will never become a bottleneck to efficiency because they will have tailored, onscreen guidance to show them what to do in real-time.
Empower your team to glide through change
For a business to be fully agile, it needs to embrace change at every level of the organization. Agility is a combination of skills, training, and experience which gives employees the confidence to handle change.
When your business is agile, change is not scary and does not place stress on the people, the organization, or the system. It’s not a challenge, but just part of the day-to-day.
The best managers are the ones who invest in a range of skills training to ensure their teams are agile and ready for the next big change.